Slowness of Sydney trains

 
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
I came across this thread about Brisbane trains and did an update on comparitive journey times per distance and number of stops using the top-performing Perth system as a benchmark:

https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1552829.htm

I thought this might be more relevant to the Sydney thread and the results of updated journey time figures over similarly-profiled selected sections of lines are as follows:

13 km segment:

Benchmark:
Perth-Mosman Park (13.5 km): 11 stops, 21 minutes
Perth-Beckenham (13.8 km): 9 stops, 19 minutes
Perth-East Guildford (14 km): 11 stops, 20 minutes

Sydney:
Central-Homebush (12.7 km): 11 stops, 27 minutes
Sydenham-Bankstown (13.4 km): 9 stops, 25 minutes
(Sydney Metro projected time for 13 km: Sydenham-Bankstown: 9 stops, 21 minutes)

30 km segment:

Benchmark:
Perth-Armadale: 35 mins, 12 stops; 39 mins, 17 stops

Sydney Central-Glenfield via East Hills: 43 mins, 11 stops; 49 mins, 17 stops

33 km segment (IC=intercity train):

Benchmark:
Perth-Clarkson: 33 mins, 9 stops.
Perth-Kwinana: 28 mins, 6 stops.

Sydney:
Blacktown-Redfern: 41 mins, 7 stops; 47 mins, 13 stops; IC 32 mins, 1 stop.
Cronulla-Redfern: 43 mins, 8 stops.
Central-Hornsby via Strathfield: IC 37 mins, 4 stops.
Central-Macquarie Fields via East Hills: 40 mins, 7 stops.
(Sydney Metro projected time for 33 km: Rouse Hill-Chatswood: 35 mins, 10 stops)

Adelaide:
Seaford-Mile End: 48 mins, 21 stops; 43 mins, 13 stops.
Adelaide-Munno Para (diesel): 43 mins, 13 stops.

Melbourne:
Ferntree Gully-Parliament: 43 mins, 10 stops.
Southern Cross-Dandenong: 47 mins, 16 stops.
Flinders Street-Werribee: 42 mins, 9 stops.

Brisbane (handicapped by track profiles):
Central-Ebbw Vale: 43 mins, 10 stops.
Central-Loganlea: IC 41 mins, 5 stops.
Central-Wellington Point: 52 mins, 12 stops.
Central-Narangba: IC 41 mins, 6 stops.

47 km segment (IC=intercity train):

Benchmark:
Perth-Warnbro: 38 mins, 9 stops

(NSW)Thirroul-Bombo: IC 48-54 mins, 9 stops

(Qld)Beenleigh-Varsity Lakes (49km): IC 32 mins, 5 stops

70 km segment  (IC=intercity train):

Benchmark:
Perth-Mandurah: 51 mins, 10 stops

Sydney Central-Douglas Park (diesel): IC 63-66 mins, 6 stops
Handicapped by track profiles:
Sydney Central-Thirroul: IC 78 mins, 5 stops
Sydney Central-Woy Woy: IC 72 mins, 4 stops
Sydney Central-Blaxland: IC 67-69 mins, 7 stops

Melbourne (Southern Cross)-North Geelong (diesel): IC 55 mins, 9 stops

The results seem most pertinent to Sydney and region trains, being, by the looks of it, the slowest train services in Australia, allowing for Brisbane's handicap of its inherited track profiles. I've used sections of pretty straight track in the comparisons but have acknowledged that three of the Sydney interurban lines run into profile issues in their outer sections.

You need to take into account the number of intermediate stops together with the distances in making the comparisons. Also, considering many lines have varied stopping patterns, I've used the stopping patterns that have a similar number of stops where possible.

It does seem that of all the Australian systems, only the upcoming Sydney metro line (and Gold Coast line between Beenleigh and Varsity Lakes) are able to challenge or match Perth's journey times. Perth shows what is possible with a conventional suburban rail (and note that it's not only the new lines but the 19th century legacy lines that are run fast as well) and is I reckon a good benchmark for other states to emulate. Any observations or comments on this would be appreciated.

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  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
A few years back, On Time Performance (OTP) was suffering badly.

Solution - New TT was introduced to slow running times - OTP suddenly back to acceptable %.
  viaprojects Chief Train Controller



It does seem that of all the Australian systems, only the upcoming Sydney metro line (and Gold Coast line between Beenleigh and Varsity Lakes) are able to challenge or match Perth's journey times. Perth shows what is possible with a conventional suburban rail (and note that it's not only the new lines but the 19th century legacy lines that are run fast as well) and is I reckon a good benchmark for other states to emulate. Any observations or comments on this would be appreciated.
tonyp



Sydney / nsw .. trains are quite fast if you remove all the twists and turns in the compared benchmarks
  Spletsie Chief Commissioner

Interesting analysis tonyp.

As mikesyd said, in Sydney running times were somewhat sacrificed to improve on time statistics.

I wonder if higher traffic density is also a factor in Sydney compared to other cities.

It would be interesting to also see a 13 km segment for Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Real appropriate comparison. Compare the busiest rail system in the country which is Double deck and has the highest frequencies with single deck systems. Sure it would be nice to have faster times but Sydney's system is about moving large amounts of people and not about speed records.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
Interesting analysis tonyp.

As mikesyd said, in Sydney running times were somewhat sacrificed to improve on time statistics.

I wonder if higher traffic density is also a factor in Sydney compared to other cities.

It would be interesting to also see a 13 km segment for Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Spletsie
Yes I could extend the 13 km comparison, or anybody else is welcome to do it for themselves using the tts available online! Seriously, if I get time, I'll try to expand the examples from other cities in each category.

In response to some other comments here, yes I'm aware of the reason the timetable was slowed down, but I've also looked at timetables over the last 70 years back to the single deck era and frankly, Sydney metropolitan and interurban trains never ran all that much faster - typically a few minutes at most, not the whopping 10 or 15 minute differences in some of the above comparisons.

I haven't ignored the twisty bits in Sydney's lines, in fact I've deliberately selected sections of line in each city that aren't seriously twisty and have identified the examples that are. I've also used off-peak timings in all cases to avoid discriminating against cities with heavier patronage that might slow things down in peak. Traffic density - Perth also runs trains down to 3 to 5 minute headways in peaks, as do I think some other cities.

In terms of causation, apart from the political slowdown, I'm wondering whether the double deckers (unique to Sydney) are actually slowing things down themselves with their slower performance and passenger exchange difficulties with only two doors per car at the ends to handle large numbers of people. Of course some of the other systems' trains have only two doors (Melbourne has three) but they have less people to move. I'm looking at dwell time, acceleration and deceleration (and thus average speed) as a factor in Sydney's slowness.

Related to this, note the projected performance of the Sydney metro - pretty-well up to Perth standard and it's designed to move far larger numbers of people than any Sydney Trains line. So it's not really to sustainable to say that a system is slower because it moves larger numbers of people.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

In terms of causation, apart from the political slowdown, I'm wondering whether the double deckers (unique to Sydney) are actually slowing things down themselves with their slower performance and passenger exchange difficulties with only two doors per car at the ends to handle large numbers of people. Of course some of the other systems' trains have only two doors (Melbourne has three) but they have less people to move. I'm looking at dwell time, acceleration and deceleration (and thus average speed) as a factor in Sydney's slowness.

Related to this, note the projected performance of the Sydney metro - pretty-well up to Perth standard and it's designed to move far larger numbers of people than any Sydney Trains line. So it's not really to sustainable to say that a system is slower because it moves larger numbers of people.
tonyp

IMHO, RailCorp has a culture of inefficiency.  No-one, anywhere, anytime, works to improve the efficiency or productivity of the system.  This manifests itself is a lot of ways, but ultimately no-one, anywhere, anytime, is even trying to make things faster (though I must say there were some interesting timetables in the 1990s IIRC).

I look through the speed boards in the DRKD and wonder why the limits are what they are, and how easy it would be to fix things.  

For example, a lot of the general speed boards on the South Coast line are no more than 110.  Not because of any inherent issue with the perway, simply because that was the top speed of the V-Sets when the line was electrified.

Similarly, the Sydney timetable is designed so all services can be operated by the slowest members of the fleet (ie top speed ~100 IIRC).  Penrith to Sydney is 55km on a flat mostly straight alignment.  It should be 20min express, 30 min typical transit time.  But it's not, it's an hour.  And it's ~40min running non-stop at the speed boards IIRC.

None of this is rocket science to fix.  But someone has got to want to do it, and no-one does.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
If you want faster trains in Sydney the only way to do it is to remove the number of stops a train makes enroute.
How people can expect a 100 KPH service when the stations are almost so close together as to have the front end of the train arriving as the rear end is departing the last station??
Trains could accelerate with sufficient force to throw you back in the seat but at what cost in power drawn and wear on the wheels and rails when accelerating and braking from a rapid speed?
Remember the Sydney network was built when anything faster than a horses canter was considered breathtaking.
No doubt the network could be redesigned with better placed stations, gradients and curves but at what cost in disruption times and construction and who is going to pay for it??
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven

IMHO, RailCorp has a culture of inefficiency.  No-one, anywhere, anytime, works to improve the efficiency or productivity of the system.  This manifests itself is a lot of ways, but ultimately no-one, anywhere, anytime, is even trying to make things faster (though I must say there were some interesting timetables in the 1990s IIRC).

I look through the speed boards in the DRKD and wonder why the limits are what they are, and how easy it would be to fix things.  

For example, a lot of the general speed boards on the South Coast line are no more than 110.  Not because of any inherent issue with the perway, simply because that was the top speed of the V-Sets when the line was electrified.

Similarly, the Sydney timetable is designed so all services can be operated by the slowest members of the fleet (ie top speed ~100 IIRC).  Penrith to Sydney is 55km on a flat mostly straight alignment.  It should be 20min express, 30 min typical transit time.  But it's not, it's an hour.  And it's ~40min running non-stop at the speed boards IIRC.

None of this is rocket science to fix.  But someone has got to want to do it, and no-one does.
djf01
I too believe there is a cultural issue within the organisation. Taking the south coast as an example, there is a big public and press push on about journey times and the debate tends to focus on the twisty bit between Waterfall and Coledale. But of course the other 80% of the line north of Waterfall and south of Coledale is pretty well aligned in general. There is considerable scope for journey time improvements on those sections but when I got a response from the Minister's railway sidekick to the comparison figures with Perth, he said that they didn't see a problem with the journey time. (Meanwhile the government is pushing on with the motorway because the locals are complaining about the journey time!)

So if the organisation doesn't even acknowledge that there's a problem. what hope is there of it working towards a solution? Zilch.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
If you want faster trains in Sydney the only way to do it is to remove the number of stops a train makes enroute.
gordon_s1942
No. In most of the comparisons above, Sydney has less stops than the interstate equivalents. Perth is littered with stops, particularly on the legacy lines, yet still does a faster journey even when they stop at all the stops. This isn't the reason.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

If you want faster trains in Sydney the only way to do ....
gordon_s1942

I want the system to be more efficient, more cost effective and - not un-coincidentally - deliver a more usable service as a result.  

There are too many people say "the only way to ...", or more often "you can't do this or you can't do that" for all sorts of spurious and semi-valid reasons.  It's total BS.  No-one is interested in answering the more obvious question: "how can we do things better?"  Sydney is always a special case, there is always a reason not to fix anything, even when the rest of the world has solved these same problems multiple times in multiple ways.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I too believe there is a cultural issue within the organisation.
tonyp

The issue goes beyond RaiCorp, and well up the public service and government hierarchy.  

The planning process and allocation of capital is woeful, because almost everyone involved has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo - or having a massive announcable.  There is no mechanism for rational incremental improvements.  Problems are dealt with in a knee jerk way - and often completely misunderstanding the issue.

For example, people have a slow, smeg experience using the service, but this manifests itself as the complaint to a politician "the trains are always late".  The public service's way of dealing with this is metro - no timetables so no-one can complain about the services being late.  I'm convinced this is 90% of the explanation for $20b of public funds being pumped into the new metro: a non solution to the mis-articulation of a common problem.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

If you want faster trains in Sydney the only way to do it is to remove the number of stops a train makes enroute.
How people can expect a 100 KPH service when the stations are almost so close together as to have the front end of the train arriving as the rear end is departing the last station??
gordon_s1942
Sydney has the least amount of stops compared to anywhere else in the nation. (bar the new lines in perth).
There are very few all stations services in sydney.  

Meanwhile in brisbane the only all day express services is the caboolture/sunny coast line and the gold coast line.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I wouldn't have said that about the Metro.
The technology, design and operational mode of the Sydney is how you build commuter railways these days. Having travelled to a number of major cities this year, Sydney was the only one where we referenced a timetable. The rest just list expected frequency which are subject to change based on demand.

If you were building a rail network for Sydney today the IU lines woyld be seperate a still likely DD. Everything else would be driverless metro wirh stations 1.5km apart in inner suburbs, much closer in city and 4km in outer suburbs
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I wouldn't have said that about the Metro.

... Having travelled to a number of major cities this year, Sydney was the only one where we referenced a timetable. The rest just list expected frequency which are subject to change based on demand ...

If you were building a rail network for Sydney today ...
RTT_Rules

I know you wouldn't have said that about Metro Smile.  But it's true.  Rouse Hill is not the sort of destination that needs a station frequency of 1.5km.  It's the sort of planning which causes the subject of this thread: slow services because of (depending on who you listen to) too high a station frequency.

As for travelling the world, I was in New York earlier this year and used multiple transit systems.  I didn't reference the timetables for the subway, but I learnt they do have one.  Same with PATH. Same with NJT into Penn Central.  

The only system that did not have a timetable was The River Line, which is a standout example of how high frequency increases utility and hence patronage.  

But my point is this: Sydney is not putting in Metro to make life better for the users, it's being put in primarily to avoid the criticism "the trains are always late".  It's being taken literally, when it is nothing more that how people express their frustration at the core subject of this tread: the existing rail system is both unnecessarily and inexplicably slow.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Sorry DJF but you are just wrong. The metro is being put in because our current rail system dates back to 1855 and something new to meet modern standards is needed. Remember that labor also proposed a metro in 2007 as suggested in the Christie report but didn't have the balls to take on the union like the liberals have. Independent line metro's will be the future in Sydney and in doing so will free up the existing network for outer suburban and intercity services.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I wouldn't have said that about the Metro.

... Having travelled to a number of major cities this year, Sydney was the only one where we referenced a timetable. The rest just list expected frequency which are subject to change based on demand ...

If you were building a rail network for Sydney today ...

I know you wouldn't have said that about Metro Smile.  But it's true.  Rouse Hill is not the sort of destination that needs a station frequency of 1.5km.  It's the sort of planning which causes the subject of this thread: slow services because of (depending on who you listen to) too high a station frequency.

As for travelling the world, I was in New York earlier this year and used multiple transit systems.  I didn't reference the timetables for the subway, but I learnt they do have one.  Same with PATH. Same with NJT into Penn Central.  

The only system that did not have a timetable was The River Line, which is a standout example of how high frequency increases utility and hence patronage.  

But my point is this: Sydney is not putting in Metro to make life better for the users, it's being put in primarily to avoid the criticism "the trains are always late".  It's being taken literally, when it is nothing more that how people express their frustration at the core subject of this tread: the existing rail system is both unnecessarily and inexplicably slow.
djf01
Are you saying 1.5km is too much or too little?

The Metro is being installed because
- its the most modern approach to building long distance underground railways that minimises the risk of cost blwo outs. As hasd happened to all previous large scale UG projects in Sydney

- Its fully automated so that train frequency can be changed live according to turnstyle flows

- Trains turn around at the terminus at the same time a normal stop does, not double figure minutes, no need for facilities for crews etc. Just stick the empty set in a dark tunnel.

- Frequency can exceed that of manual driven trains, critical for future

- Higher frequency at lower cost, less waiting, more turn up and go

- Faster dwell times

- Lower construction costs

- Higher level of safety

- Lower operating cost

- No Legacy backwards compatibility requirements. they almost but not quite have a clean slate.

- Passengers can and will enjoy looking out the front and back along the track.

And this is without dragging anti union propaganda into it and if anything the whole concept was the brainchild of the former ALP govt.


I don't believe it got anything to do with on time performance!
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Are you saying 1.5km is too much or too little?
RTT_Rules

For a 42km route - what do you reckon?


The Metro is being installed because ...
RTT_Rules

I'm sorry Shane & everyone else, but I just don't believe it.

The reasons you have laid out are all well and good, and perfectly rational justifications for the project.  

But I don't for one second think these are the reasons NSW has decided to go this way.

The NSW public service have been trying to foist a metro on us for nearly 2 decades, regardless of the flavour of government, and now they have succeeded.  I might be prepared to accept a well argued case the TfNSW thought "world's best practice: HK MTR, lets do what they do", but even that I'd have a very hard time believing.

It's not necessarily entirely a bad thing, but ... it'll take an awful lot to convince me that the planning process arrived at this decision via any more rational means than the one I outlined: "we 'solve' the problem of trains running late by abolishing timetables".

You see, the truth is the Sydney rail network has terrible productivity by any local or international measure (bar PAX/train metre) and is dreadfully expensive and inefficient, despite being the second most used system in the southern hemisphere (I stand to be corrected here, but at ~400m trips a year, it's bigger than any system bar the São Paulo Metro).  That is the core reason for this thread.  

And as I argued in the other thread, metro to Liverpool or Parramatta is *not* a rational way of dealing with the problem of slow journey times on the existing infrastructure.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Are you saying 1.5km is too much or too little?

For a 42km route - what do you reckon?


The Metro is being installed because ...
I'm sorry Shane & everyone else, but I just don't believe it.

The reasons you have laid out are all well and good, and perfectly rational justifications for the project.  

But I don't for one second think these are the reasons NSW has decided to go this way.

The NSW public service have been trying to foist a metro on us for nearly 2 decades, regardless of the flavour of government, and now they have succeeded.  I might be prepared to accept a well argued case the TfNSW thought "world's best practice: HK MTR, lets do what they do", but even that I'd have a very hard time believing.

It's not necessarily entirely a bad thing, but ... it'll take an awful lot to convince me that the planning process arrived at this decision via any more rational means than the one I outlined: "we 'solve' the problem of trains running late by abolishing timetables".

You see, the truth is the Sydney rail network has terrible productivity by any local or international measure (bar PAX/train metre) and is dreadfully expensive and inefficient, despite being the second most used system in the southern hemisphere (I stand to be corrected here, but at ~400m trips a year, it's bigger than any system bar the São Paulo Metro).  That is the core reason for this thread.  

And as I argued in the other thread, metro to Liverpool or Parramatta is *not* a rational way of dealing with the problem of slow journey times on the existing infrastructure.
djf01
14 stops from last station to Pitt Street (real centre of Sydney), for 42km (your distance). Compared to most other lines in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane I suspect that is very favorable and faster in run time as well by roughly 10min of the few I compared it do for the same distance.

Now also note many other lines have peak expresses, but go off-peak and you are doing the milk run for 1hr or more.

For the roughly 400m or what ever the number is that use Sydney trains, the network is high cost, bloody high. Dubai has 2 Metro lines, total length 75km, either in tunnels or via ducts barely any ground running that are pushing the Entire Sydney trains network in daily users and will do after extension is open to south, easily.

While you say you believe in the conspiracy theory,  i think you answered your own question  in your comments further down and thats its mostly driven by costs, productivity etc etc.

The Clearways project (started by ALP) resolved the much of the reliability issues doing what should have been done 20 years before. But alass the network was still operated like a country network, not a growing suburban network. Back then if one line was down, send the trains on other lines. Thats all gone now. Its moved along way towards a A-B, C-D, F-G only network, getting Bankstown out of the existing tunnels will add one more A-B.

Also the on time running is bad and I don't think the public perception is also that bad. I've notice in my trips home every 18-24mth how far it has come in last 6 years. No graffiti, on time running, better communication with users, cleanlyness. Even my mum who was always "trains never on time", has moved on. Also many of the inner lines are now running so frequent even off-peak that a late running service is barely noticed, only matters if going out to outer suburbs with less frequent services.

Liverpool Metro extension just makes common sense to me. Why wouldn't you do it?

Paramatta, there are a few options. As many others have said you need a 3rd pair of tracks west of Homebush as the lines east of Homebush are grossly inefficient in capacity and a fly over junction west of Homebush. However the Metro option is not about replicating the existing corridor from start to finish, its about solving one problem and running via areas new to rail with rapidly growing populations. ie Bays District and Rosehill redevelopment.

For this reason alone I do support it. DD or Metro technology doesn't matter, but as I said before, if building a line capable of standing alone that is mostly UG, well you know the answer and thats worlds best practice so why pretent to do something better that won't be. Westmead to St James via Rosehill, Bays district and Sydney Uni/Hospital, build it and be done with it. You watch within 5 years of opening it will be moving 250,000 a day, and growing rapidly.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
Having travelled on the Perth system a lot lately and on metros overseas and then looking at the specifications of the Sydney metro, I don't see a lot of practical difference between the Transperth operation and Sydney metro, apart from the Sydney automation and platform screens (and Perth is apparently looking at adopting ATC). Technically, one is an S Bahn, one a U Bahn, but they morph into each other and the boundaries are blurred. Trains are similar, journey times are similar, comme ci, comme ça. I think the Sydney project should borrow a bit from Perth and give the trains a higher maximum speed so that it can perform even better and be more S Bahn-like over longer distances (those 130 km/h leaps that Perth can do at the outer ends).

Because it's called a metro, critics are thinking of it too much within traditional definitional boundaries rather than accepting that it has elements of S Bahn as well. Even the arguments about seats and longer distances, critics argue on a car by car comparison whereas, because the metro is capable of throughputting more trains per hour, the difference between the potential number of seats delivered per hour closes up - iirc at maximum potential capacity 15,000 seats per hour per direction for metro vs 18,000 seats per hour for the double deck system. Not that great a difference - although the double deckers obviously become more essential in terms of seats towards the outer ends of the metropolitan area and in the interurban area.

What I'm saying basically is that in the debate we shouldn't get too hung up on the "metro" aspect of the Sydney metro. The definitional edges are quite soft and rubbery in Sydney's case. It's more like an S Bahn using metro technology.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Yes the Sydney system is slow but that is because when you have 20 trains an hour doing vastly different runs on the main trunk routes of an interconnected network (that clearways did very little to actually fix) what else can you expect. A third track pair between Strathfield and Lidcombe would help the situation vastly. Quadding to epping on the north, Sutherland on the south coast and between Glenfield and Macarthur on the main south is what is needed to speed things up.


The liverpool metro extension does make sense to me as well RTT but since our mayor is now labor instead of liberal the extension has been cancelled from what I understand. Liverpool has traditionally been a safe labor seat and former liberal mayor Manoun is something that I never thought I would ever see in Liverpool. Since his departure all discussion has ceased with the current state government and this silly new express which really isn't an express but just a move of the 55 minute via granville service to via bankstown is not an actual express in anything other then the amount of stops it takes. The new metro would be better off going underground to Bankstown freeing up the existing line to run a proper express.

There is no point in comparing Sydney to the other state capitals because of the complexity and the high frequencies of the network and things like the gaps at certain stations rather then the lack of doors is why dwell times tend to blow out. Getting rid of those close stations is also pointless because those close station gaps is what makes out train system popular and putting more people on buses is not the answer.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

Sydney has a very high cost per passenger.  In perspective, the regional trains have a smaller subsidy per passenger.   Yes, the things that sometimes run near empty using diesel for 1000km.  

The NW metro i'm still on the fence for, one hand hand it will speed up services, but on the other hand, the route is better off designed for DD's, as its long with few station stops.   The bankstown metro project makes alot of sense as its frequent stops where Single decks have far better performance.   Its not a "metro" that will speed stuff up, It's the addition of tunnels that have higher speeds.    


If they were serious about speeding things up, they would just add a tunnel from granville to the cbd for western line services.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
Yes the Sydney system is slow but that is because when you have 20 trains an hour doing vastly different runs on the main trunk routes of an interconnected network (that clearways did very little to actually fix) what else can you expect. A third track pair between Strathfield and Lidcombe would help the situation vastly. Quadding to epping on the north, Sutherland on the south coast and between Glenfield and Macarthur on the main south is what is needed to speed things up.
simstrain
Network issues don't have much bearing on Sydenham-Bankstown or Thirroul-Bombo. Perhaps I'll choose some more isolated sections and less examples going into Central. From the sections I've looked at so far though (some of which aren't in this list), isolation from other traffic actually makes no different to their slowness. The Sydney and interurban trains are still slow even when there's nothing between them and the end of the line but fresh air.

So your explanation may be valid where it's the case as you describe, but it doesn't explain why the trains are still slow even when those constraints don't exist. And they're not just slow while running, they're slow accelerating and decelerating and their stop dwells are slow. All this contributes to average speed and thus journey time.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Yes the Sydney system is slow but that is because when you have 20 trains an hour doing vastly different runs on the main trunk routes of an interconnected network (that clearways did very little to actually fix) what else can you expect. A third track pair between Strathfield and Lidcombe would help the situation vastly. Quadding to epping on the north, Sutherland on the south coast and between Glenfield and Macarthur on the main south is what is needed to speed things up.
Network issues don't have much bearing on Sydenham-Bankstown or Thirroul-Bombo. Perhaps I'll choose some more isolated sections and less examples going into Central. From the sections I've looked at so far though (some of which aren't in this list), isolation from other traffic actually makes no different to their slowness. The Sydney and interurban trains are still slow even when there's nothing between them and the end of the line but fresh air.

So your explanation may be valid where it's the case as you describe, but it doesn't explain why the trains are still slow even when those constraints don't exist. And they're not just slow while running, they're slow accelerating and decelerating and their stop dwells are slow. All this contributes to average speed and thus journey time.
tonyp

Actually they do. Trains have to fit into slots on the city circle. So Bankstown trains have to fit in with airport line, city via Sydenham trains from Campbelltown, inner west trains and main south via Granville trains. With the Bankstown line being moved onto metro it removes a complication from this equation. Bankstown line also has to take in the sefton triangle movements as well as the merge with via granville trains at Cabramatta. Trains have to be timed precisely to meet there slot and if they are late they can make other services late. If they are early then the train is held back to meet it's slot.

In regards to Thirroul - Bombo there are other factors like freight trains and single track that cause issues. There are also several level crossings which also slow things down. The mandurah line doesn't have to deal with freight does it.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

It interconnectedness of the network means more padding in the timetable.   Along with time spent in lower speed points.  (cough bankstown line)  It also means more time spent on restricted signals.  
Trains in sydney have alot of padding, I know this as I never knew how fast the line between horsnby and  central could be until I was on a late running XPT and did it in just over 30 min. The padding is really seen on weekend services.  The padding on weekends also shows why having all doors open at every station is a very bad idea and is why sydney requries such powerful AC units in the trains.

Sydney simply has too many 25km/h points that see regular use.   ESR, bankstown line, strathfield, homebush, redfern/macdonaldtown, north sydney, hornsby are all victims of low speed points.  

One of the few things the brisbane network is good for is removing low speed points that get regularly used.   Only the cleveland line has 25km/h points that get regular use.  


I do desperatly want to see a quad between revesby and macarthur.   Only having station platforms at macarthur, campbelltown, and glenfield.  Would do alot to speed up long distance services.

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